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  • Looking for fairies at Lassithi PlateauLooking for fairies at Lassithi Plateau© Christos Tsoumplekas
  • © Christos Tsoumplekas
  • © Christos Tsoumplekas

Photographic diaries: Lassithi Plateau

Christos Tsoumplekas takes us to a transcendental photographic journey at Lassithi Plateau, with fairy tale images that drift us away.

How can I translate 100 images into words?

Photos / text: Christos Tsoumplekas

January 16, 2015

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Last night I heard again the “little voice” inside my head calling me. Usually when the voice “whispers”, the day after I am found in an unexpected place, observing something new. Crete, winter, just ten days after the cold wave that passed and shuttered the island. Crete, a whole continent, becomes a different continent every season. But also each landscape hides within it another landscape, revealed only in certain circumstances. This is true for every place on earth. But I live in Crete, a tiny piece of land that encompasses the whole world. Perhaps this is why Kazantzakis was born here. The universal intellectual. The writer of humanity. I should not forget to take with me his book, "Spiritual Exercises”. It accompanies every little journey I make. No, I do not read it every time, I just have it in my bag as a sort of ‘insurance’. My little bible and refuge, in case I need it.

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I should be there early in the morning. Usually miracles happen when most people sleep. In the hours when night and day negotiate their dominance in a little corner of the sky. They happen at dusk or dawn. Usually at dawn. Maybe because the silence of the night prepares the ground, providing a concealed ‘workshop’ for their creation. In these hours, poets and writers are inspired. Silence is essential to me, because this is when I listen best.

The alarm clock goes off at 4.30

It is difficult when its Friday night. But, as I calculated my time, I need about half an hour to get ready, an hour to drive there and I have to be there an hour early. I slept with difficulty, despite the weariness. It must have been one thirty in the morning, because this is when my middle son went to sleep...

4.20, my eyes open automatically. I want to get up, or I am already up and getting dressed. I drink two sips of coffee and I’m on my way… at least my mind is already there, at the Plateau. Now my body has to follow…

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Don’t forget the camera

I wish I didn’t need it. If only the mind could capture forever what I am about to see and I was able to describe it to people so well that cameras would not be necessary. Never mind, either way I am not interested in the ‘technical’ aspect of whatever I am about to capture. I am never interested in the technical specifications of an image. Images are shaped in my mind and then they find their exodus, one way or another.

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Plateau, time 5.50 

Too dark, too cold. The first sunbeams shyly appear. I looked for you at dawn. Darkness breaks its silence and the clouds up in the sky seem to regain their shape, but I might be wrong. Again, Kazantzakis words come to advise me: “what means light after all? Look with a clear eye through all darkness”. 

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The sky starts to ‘crack’

I’m already out there, walking. Plateau, near Kato Metochi. I hear lyra melodies in my head. Where else could these melodies be born if not in this place? My head is full of sounds, guiding me through a silence that is gradually broken, together with the darkness.

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Plateau, Kato Metochi, time 7.00   

An endless sea arises ahead of me. An explosion of colors emerges from the East. I listen Ainur songs hidden in the sounds of Ross Daly’s “White Dragon". I am almost certain that any moment now I will see kouretes dancing, led by goddess Diktynna, on the surface of a colorful, peaceful lake. I am sure Zeus was raised in this region. A golden fountain poured upside down from the sky, while trees float on the water –or is it the sky?- exactly as the “little voice” in my head whispered to me the day before. 

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I can’t stop making images in my head. Sometimes I use the camera to record them (fortunately, at the end I always take it with me). How else would I keep alive what I see, listen and smell in such moments, even if it is just the 10% of the whole picture…? 

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Christos Tsoumplekas

Lassithi Plateau

January 16, 2015

Time 8.00.

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